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Laura, Lumi and Anda, juvenile Banana Spiders or Golden Silk Spiders (Nephila clavipes)
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My diary - the life and aventures of juvenile banana spiders

Jun 6, 2004: Here is my little sister, Lumi, 4-5 mm long (1 mm between marks on the scale). Frank just discovered her near Natasha's home from 2002. Compare the color of my legs (dark brown) with Laura's more mature legs (click here or on My Pictures above)

Lumi and a scale - not the best of focus, but the best I can do without destroying the web. Her thorax is about 3-4 mm long.

Jun 6, 2004: Something of my life: design of a 3d web, repairing my web and positioned in my home

Jun 6, 2004: Videos of my web repairs and the vibration response

July 5, 2004: New insights into predator - prey interactions

Today, a big surprise was waiting for me. Brenda Rindge wrote a wonderful article for the Post and Courier about my spider affairs. Soon email started arriving that included observations from many others in the Charleston area. Among them was the following observation from Laura Szweda - in this case, the behavior of female bunting as she attacked the web of a Nephila Clavipes. From Laura's observations, it seems reasonable to assume that the bunting was all too aware of the strength of the spider silk comprising the web. Here are Laura's comments:
"I wanted to share a unique experience with you concerning the Nephila clavipes.

I am fortunate to live among abundant wildlife on Kiawah.  I  have gotten more 
opportunity here than anywhere I've lived to observe the interactions of wild 
creatures.  This activity has been a lifelong passion.  I recently watched a 
female bobcat stalk squirrels at my birdfeeder, chasing one up a palmetto 
tree. The clawmarks on the tree trunk are still intact!  What a thrill!

I have been a fascinated observer of the magnificent Golden Orb spiders since 
my move from "off."   The gigantic web networks in the trees, in my windows, 
the spiders' rituals have been amazing.  My birdfeeders have attracted  many 
birds and more than our share of painted buntings who return each year.  
This year, I believe I have identified three different pairs.  Last year, 
toward the end of the summer, I was watching a female bunting, flittering 
between two trees.  On closer observation, she seemed to be tangled in the web 
of a huge Golden Orb spider.  As I watched, I realized her movement was 
deliberate.  She wasn't tangled in the web, but was piercing it.  She flew a 
short distance from the web, attacked once more, then dove into the web and 
snapped her beak over the female spider, only the spider's legs protruded from 
either side of her mouth!  She flew away, huge meal in tow. This same thing 
happened to another spider who had taken up an entire window frame with her 
web, my nose was practically pressed against the glass as I watched.  No 
mistake, these spiders are a food source for the buntings.  I haven't observed 
any other bird with the same activity.  Fascinating."

July 8, 2004: All gone. Yesterday all our friends were absent from their web. So today I checked again. All absent, including a large female in our neighbor's garden.

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Copyright C. Frank Starmer, 2004